There is significant concern about Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, also known as CFS. In fact, there are criteria patients must meet in order to be diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.
Receiving the diagnosis may be difficult for some patients because the guidelines for diagnosing are very specific. The fatigue must have been present at least six consecutive months and the corresponding symptoms must have developed after the fatigue.
A clear definition of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, its symptoms, and treatment options will help sufferers get a clearer understanding of the syndrome.
What is Chronic Fatigue?
The basic definition of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome does not make sufferers feel much better.
The syndrome is unexplained and is marked by weakness, fatigue, muscle pain, lethargy, trouble sleeping, and even fever and swollen lymph nodes.
There is no known cause for the fatigue that is present in an individual that has no relation to over-exertion and is not rectified by rest.
Some of the symptoms associated with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome have been discussed. However, there is a very long list.
There are a variety of symptoms that patients are very aware of and then there are other symptoms only doctors seem to notice.
Regardless, when the symptoms are present for a period of time for no apparent cause and seem to have no remedy then Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is a frequent diagnosis.
Some of the frequent symptoms of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome include:
- Muscle Aches
- Persistent Fatigue
- Intermittent Fatigue
- Swollen Lymph nodes
- Memory Loss
- Difficulty Concentrating
- Achy Joints
Frequently Chronic Fatigue Syndrome begins during periods when individuals have been sick, under a tremendous amount of stress, or for no apparent reason at all.
Many individuals have noted that after bouts with the flu, mono, a cold, bronchitis, hepatitis, and other similar illnesses CFS arises.
Unfortunately, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome persists for months, sometimes coming and going, and other times constantly affecting the patient. Other illnesses begin to clear up after a few days or weeks, but Chronic Fatigue Syndrome sticks around with no clear cause.
Diagnosing Chronic Fatigue
Doctors find it very difficult to diagnose Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. The reason why is because so many of its symptoms are symptoms of other illnesses.
This is why many doctors like to see patients with the same symptoms that began after the fatigue for at least six months before giving a diagnosis. Obviously, sufferers of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome find the lack of an early diagnosis difficult to bear on top of their symptoms.
However, doctors like to rule out diseases like Lupus and Multiple Sclerosis, as well as other diseases, before diagnosing Chronic Fatigue.
Additionally, researchers and doctors are becoming more aware of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and are more likely to make an earlier diagnosis based on fewer symptoms than ever before.
That is not to say that Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is easy to diagnose, because it is not. However, increased awareness and new definitions are helping doctors and patients of Chronic Fatigue each and every day.
The treatment options for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome are varied and include alternative as well as prescription alternatives.
Some of the alternative care management options for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome include avoiding stress and undertaking light exercise.
Other treatment options that work for some individuals include massage, aquatic therapy, chiropractic therapy, yoga, self-hypnosis, tai chi, and even acupuncture.
Psychotherapy has also proven helpful to sufferers of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome because it helps sufferers learn to cope with their symptoms.
Prescription treatment options for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome have not been approved by the FDA. There are however other prescription medications that are used to treat the symptoms presented with Chronic Fatigue.
Frequently, the primary use of medicine is secondary and its side effects are what benefit Chronic Fatigue sufferers.
Medicines like antifungals, antidepressants, antivirals, cardiac drugs, antihistamines, immunoglobulins, corticoids, anti-inflammatories, and anticonvulsants among others are frequently prescribed to CFS sufferers.
Do You Have CFS?
If you are worried you have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome or have some of the above-stated symptoms for months on end then you should make an appointment with your physician.
It is a good idea to keep a journal of your symptoms when they began, and if new ones appear. This will help your doctor make the proper diagnosis and help receive some relief from your symptoms sooner.
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Camille McClellan, MD, DNM, MBS
McClellan Natural Health, Wellness & Nutrition
Free Naturopathic/Homeopathic Consults Available